Wednesday, May 30, 2007


The immigration debate in the US is so biased that there is little chance that any intelligent discussion can take place.

To some neo-conservatives immigration is the mother of all evils and blamed for everything that is wrong except, at least for the time being, the war in Iraq. On the other side of the spectrum we have those who believe that immigration is good for the US and that since we are a nation of immigrants everyone should be welcomed.

Behind the slogans, self serving names, the posturing and of course the profiteering by some dubious and certainly biased media personalities, the truth is that everyone in both sides of the argument are simply human beings; human beings that react as such when confronted with real and/or perceived threats.

In the end, everyone in this epic confrontation shares the same primal calling and motivation; survival!

In the US, the anti-immigration zealots are not really concerned with jobs, welfare and the economy. Why should they? If there is something that the US has proven through out its history is that we are the best there is when it comes to assimilating and adapting. We are extremely good at thriving in adverse conditions and certainly a couple million immigrants are not going to change that.

Further, immigrants are both producers and consumers and that is what our economic system is based on. We might need to tweak a little thing here and there to help immigrants adapt and produce more than they consume, but that is not a problem for a strong and creative economy such as the US economy.

The real concern that conservative zealots and other xenophobic fanatics have is that they perceive Hispanic immigration as a threat to the survival of their particular brand of American culture. Further, most of them are really advocates of a policy of ethnic cleansing disguised as an immigration policy.


The irony of all this is that most of what conservative zealots and other fanatics regard as part of our culture is not even American. It was assimilated by us from foreign cultures and people; even our language is foreign; English is a Germanic language an as a matter of fact the name of the language itself derives from “Englisc” which is the name of the language that the Angles tribes, originally from Engel, spoke during the fifth century.

There is one thing though that is uniquely American and that constitutes the essence of our culture and our legacy to the world.

That unique thing is our concept of freedom. A concept that was proclaimed to the world in a simple and straight forward document with very few but, certainly, most poetical words.

… “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” …

Believing and living by that single truth is what makes us Americans. We are not Americans because of the language we speak, the food we eat or what we drink. We are Americans because regardless of race, religion and/or gender we live and die by and for that truth. That is what makes us the same even though we are different; “E Pluribus, Unum”.

That truth is what fuels our creativity and makes us believe we can accomplish anything. That truth is what gives us character; what makes us feel righteous, proud and capable of overcoming any test. That truth is what makes us compassionate and at the same time what gives us the strength to endure and overcome incredible odds. That truth is the corner stone of our culture.

We are a country that has always seen the glass half full and depicted those who see otherwise as losers.

In the last couple years though we have been led to believe that the glass is half empty; that we are weak and can not endure terrorist attacks; that if we want to be safe we have to sacrifice our freedoms; that we need to build fences to defend ourselves from immigrants; that foreign countries are stealing our jobs; that our fate is to be dependent from foreign energy sources and that therefore destroying a country and acting as pilferers is perfectly moral; that our leaders know better and therefore they can abuse their powers, lie and deceive because it is for our own good; that it is not wrong to torture; that it is not wrong to sequester people; that it is not wrong to violate individual rights; that government secrecy should be the rule instead of the exception.

We have been led to believe that the standard for righteousness in our government should be set by creative interpretations of the law and the use of loopholes. The same loopholes and arguments that criminals use in the courts of law to try to beat the system.

We have become a fearful, corrupt and abusive nation and we have allowed our leaders to taint the fundamental truth that makes us Americans.

There is nothing that immigrants can do to our culture that is worse than what we have done ourselves by allowing our leaders to introduce into our government and democracy the above mentioned alien and un-American concepts. By doing so we have become what we despise.

As a matter of fact, Hispanic immigrants may very well be what we need to reclaim the true family values that we have lost, the faith in our freedom, the righteousness in our endeavors.

After all, immigrants are only doing what every species does when their survival is at risk; they migrate to better lands.

We can build all the fences we want but we will not stop their call for survival.

They will go under, above or around our fences and six out of 10 might be caught or perish in the attempt but four will survive and move on.

We may pass all the laws we want penalizing those who provide them with jobs only to find out that before long they will start generating their own jobs and underground economy.

We can persecute them as much as we want and eventually we will realize that the cost of that persecution is unbearable.

The primal force of survival is far more powerful than anything we can throw at them short of extermination.

If there is something that history has taught us is that nothing can stop the invincible hope of those who have nothing to loose. We should know better because it is that same invincible hope that fueled our relentless march to the West.

Meanwhile, we should expect that the misery generated by our draconian immigration laws in the poorest and weaker segments of the migrant population, both inside and outside of the US, will bite us back with constant and ever increasing health and social threats that will put our well being, morals and sense of social order to the test.

For years Hollywood has been portraying this reality in every futuristic picture they have released. It is therefore ironic that instead of looking for intelligent solutions we keep coming up with absurd and even moronic measures and laws that, on the contrary, will guarantee that the Hollywood doom predictions will become a reality.

We ought to change our ways and look realistically after our own interests. When it comes to immigration the following thought is right on the Dollar; “There is no better self serving business than the business of serving others”.

We need to help Latin America overcome endemic poverty and embrace economic development because it is in our own best interest and benefit to do so. We need to move massive resources into building those economies in pretty much the same way we did with Japan and Germany after WWII. We need to put aside the ideological debate and work with Latin American leaders, rightwing and leftwing, to make those societies fair, prosperous and successful.

We need to rescue the spirit of JF Kennedy’s “Alliance for Progress”, set practical and far reaching goals and implement, together with American businessmen, a massive investment strategy that will benefit both the US and Latin America; a fair business and investment strategy that benefits everyone and where no one has the upper hand.

If we need to, we ought to cross-subsidize Latin American trade quotas with reductions on Chinese imports. Making our backyard prosperous and secure is far more important to our national interest and security than helping China become a competing world power at our expense. On the other hand, securing a market of over one billion wealthy consumers’ here in the Americas is also a smart strategy to guarantee the future health of our economy.

As for the immigrants that are currently in the US, we should provide them with an “easy” path to a legal status and citizenship because that is the right thing to do and because it is in our best interest to do so.

We need to know who and where they are, we need them to pay social security and income taxes, we need them to buy homes and cars, we need them to serve in our military, we need them to create small businesses and generate jobs, we need them to register and pay their dues in our unions, we need them to share the benefits as well as the responsibilities of being Americans.

We do not need migrant ghettos nurturing disease and crime, we do not need an underground economy, we do not need the lawlessness of desperation and we certainly do not need the un-American aberration of second class citizens.

We do not need to be concern with loosing jobs either, because an “Alliance for Progress” initiative in Latin America would reduce immigration dramatically and generate more new jobs in the US than any other trade or policy measure.

We should also stop playing the card of “illegality” when dealing with immigrants because it makes us look hypocritical. Suddenly we are concerned about illegal immigrants but we are permissive and even condescending when it comes to the millions and millions of illegal drug users who, if they happen to be arrested, are sent home with a pad on the back if they promise to seek rehabilitation.

Where is the indignation of those who feel so strongly about legality when it comes to illegal consumption of drugs? How come I haven’t heard those law enforcing citizens say anything about the fact that marijuana has become the largest cash crop in the United States; at 35.8 billion Dollars the domestic marijuana crop in the US is more valuable than corn and wheat combined.

Finally, we should stop blaming immigrants for our weakness when it comes to drugs. We look like a pedophile explaining his perversion by blaming society for parading kids in schools and streets.

We have always been a fearless country that takes challenges head on and we are certainly at our best when we build instead of destroy. We have to stop playing defense and set up the kind of far reaching goals that make us excel and outperform.

We have to stop thinking like losers and reclaim our rightful role as leaders of the free world. More important, we have to wake up and realize that the days of the “little house in the prairie” are gone forever.

No comments: